Visiting giant pandas: have a breakfast with Ru Yi and Ding Ding in Moscow Zoo

June 11
Parks and pedestrian areas

The Moscow Zoo has introduced a special schedule to visit its new inhabitants, two giant pandas Ru Yi  and Ding Ding. Male and female pandas have been recently brought to Moscow from China. 

There is a special schedule for the summer months. 08:00 am till 10:00 am, daily, bears are available for visiting without special registration.

Pandas are especially active at this time of day. They wake up, wash, have bamboo for breakfast, play and complete various tasks at the request of their keepers within a special training program.

10:00 am till 09:00 pm, you may visit Ru Yi and Ding Ding only upon prior registration. Register for sessions on the official Zoo website and at a special counter near the Chinese Fauna Pavilion.

One session lasts 30 minutes. One group may comprise up to 200 people, this is the number of guests the Chinese Fauna Pavilion may accommodate at a time. There will be small breaks after each session for the pandas to have some quiet time and the Zoo personnel to prepare the pavilion for the next group of visitors. Sessions are free, with no additional admission fee required. You only need to have a Zoo ticket.

"We hope that the special regime will help to avoid overcrowding in the pavilion and, most importantly, to protect animals from unnecessary stress. Zoo specialists will monitor compliance with the pavilion visiting rules. No flash photography is allowed in the new home of giant pandas. Visitors must not make noise, knock on the cage's glass, lean against it, try to throw foreign objects or food through the display glass," said Svetlana Akulova, Director General of the Moscow Zoo.

Ru Yi and Ding Ding have arrived to the Moscow Zoo within the international program for giant panda preservation, protection and research. They will live in the Zoo for 15 years. Nevertheless, legally, they are the property of the People's Republic of China, like all the giant pandas in the world. Cubs that may be born in the future will go home to China when they reach the age of 4.

"Giant pandas in the Moscow Zoo are a long-awaited and significant event. We are grateful to our colleagues from China for the honour and special trust, and we are pleased to be part of the world's largest environmental initiatives of our time. We hope that our Zoo will become a cosy home for these unique animals," Svetlana Akulova added.

Ding Ding was born on 30 July 2017 at the Wolong National Nature Reserve, and Ru Yi was born on 31 July 2016 in Dujiangyan Reserve. The male is much larger than the female and weighs 96 kg, while she weighs about 58 kg. This is the normal weight of young animals of this age.

According to Svetlana Akulova, pandas get weighed daily. Under the keepers' guidance, they go into a special inner cage with a scale installed. The room also provides a device for paw inspection: pandas readily put their paws on a special metal base and let the keepers examine them.

The last time pandas paid a brief visit to the Moscow Zoo in 2001 within the Beijing Culture Days held in Moscow, when two bears were brought from China. A special pavilion was equipped for their maintenance. The male Beng-Beng and the female Wen-Wen spent two months in Moscow Zoo, and were safely returned later to their permanent residence in the Beijing Zoo.

Giant Panda is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Vulnerable. Giant pandas live in some provinces of China, in particular in Shaanxi, Gansu, Sichuan, and in Tibet. Male adults can weigh up to 180 kg, with their body length being 1.2 to 1.8m. Females are a little bit smaller, their weight varies between 50 and 100 kg, and their body length is between 1 and 1.5 m. Pandas are heavy enough, they have thick white fur, with contrasting black colour on their paws, ears and patches around the eyes.

Pandas are solitary animals. In the wild, every animal has its separate area. Males and females meet for a short period to have their young. Pandas eat bamboo. At Moscow Zoo, they also have carrots, apples and special grain cookies baked at the Zoo. Life expectancy of pandas kept at zoos can reach 30 years or more.


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